Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My favorite dessert....and it's easy

First off, to the pack leader, my apologies for taking so long to post this one. I know you asked for it about a month ago, but my life has been a touch hectic as of late. I will not bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that my weekends have been so unrelaxing recently, that I have actually been looking forward to the work week!!!!!!!!!!! That should give you some idea of the scope of my personal hell.

Enough bitching, on to the recipe-ing...not a word I know, but I'm going with it.

My all time favorite dessert is this simple little recipe known by the frenchies as creme anglaise, or if you're a good englishman/american, custard. Really, it is ice cream that hasn't been frozen, so if you have an ice cream maker, this will be a very versatile recipe for you. My favorite way to eat it is over stewed rhubarb (like a good brit), but you can put it over bread pudding, clafoutis, muffins, berries, really anything you want to make less healthy. It is after all a mix of dairy, sugar, and egg, but as the great (in some senses of the word) Julia Child said "everything in moderation, even moderation".

AND SO........................


1 1/2 c whole milk

1/2 c half & half
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1/2 cup sugar
4 large egg yolks, at room temperature

1)Put your milk in a saucepan over low heat. Scrape the vanilla bean into it.

2)Whisk together your sugar and eggs

3)Bring milk up to just a light simmer (gently gently bubbling for the culinarily challenged out there)

4)Temper your milk mixture into your egg mixture. This is done by simply SLOWLY drizzling some of the warm milk mixture into the cold egg mixture while whisking vigorously. This prevents the egg from cooking and becoming scrambled eggs surrounded by sugary milk. NOT as appetizing trust me.

5)Return the now milk & egg mixture to your saucepan over medium low heat and stir constantly (CONSTANT VIGILANCE as Mad Eye would say) until the sauce is this enough to coat the back of a spoon without running (this is called nappe in classic cookery, I think I've explained this before, and at some point I will stop explaing this step and just say until nappe, and hope that you've read some earlier blogs)

6)Pass through a fine strainer just to be sure you haven't had any little bits of cooked egg occur and serve immediately, or cool and refrigerate for later.

Like I said, you can pour this on top of just about any dessert and it's good. To flavor it up a bit, try adding almond extract (a touch), grand marnier (a few touches, and save some for the chef), or get a little bit more creative and use passion fruit juice, mango puree, fresh pureed berries, whatever tickles your fancy really. Odds are it'll come out fairly tasty, and will probably taste good on whatever dessert your preparing. Just don't complain to me when your ouzo flavored creme anglaise did not go well with your artichoke and sardine pie.....stay within reason folks.

Happy custarding!!!

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